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Alabama State Guide

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Alabama is a state located in the South-eastern region of the United States and is bordered by Tennessee, Georgia, Florida and the Gulf of Mexico and Mississippi to the north, east, south and west.

Alabama Fast Facts:

Capital city: Montgomery
Largest city by population: Birmingham
Largest city by total land area: Huntsville
Oldest city: Mobile
Sate Animal: American Black Bear
Sate Bird: Northern Flicker
State Tree: Long leaf Pine
State Flower: Camellia
State Sport: Football
Common languages spoken: English, Spanish
It is the one of the most extensive states and is popularly tagged as the "Yellowhammer state" (after the state bird), the “Heart of Dixie” and the “Cotton State".

Management, automotive, health care, education, retail, aerospace and technology form the main structure of the state’s economy. The state of Alabama features the Redstone Arsenal located in Huntsville which is the unique United States Army post and a census-designated place (CDP). The state boasts as the largest suppliers of cast iron and steel pipe products. As of 2010 United States census, there are 460 incorporated cities and towns in Alabama.




capitol
Image by User:Spyder_Monkey (Own work) [CC BY-SA 3.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/3.0)], via Wikimedia Commons

History of Alabama

On December 14, 1819 [1], Alabama became the 22nd state of the United States of America. Until World War II, slavery system was prevalent and thousands of slaves were transported and sold in the state by the slave traders. The slavery system was withdrawn in January 1861. The state’s economy was purely based on cotton plantations and share cropping. But following World War II, the state re-establishes its economy. Prior to European civilization, indigenous peoples of varying cultures settled in the area for thousands of years. Native Americans or Paleo-Indians were the first to appear in the state prior to European contact, sometimes 12000 years ago. They were hunters-gatherers who hunted and chased animals to live. From 1000BCE to 1000CE, the Woodland period prevailed and experienced pottery and small scale horticulture. The people embraced crop cultivation as the agrarian Mississippian culture spread all over the state. With the advent of the European colonization, the Spanish were the first Europeans to arrive at Alabama claiming their region as La Florida. The French entered the state and settled at the Mobile city, claimed as La Louisiane. The French and the British contested the Seven years war and after the victory of the British, it became part of British West Florida.

Timeline of the History of Alabama

1702:- French established La Mobile
1721:- Africans arrived into Mobile port with cargoes and 100 slaves.
1756-1763:- Seven Years War. French lost the Seven Years War and Great Britain established La Louisiana


1811-1812:-Schools established. Washington Academy at St. Stephens and Green Academy at Huntsville
1811-1816:- Newspaper established i.e. Centinel and Alabama Republican
1813-1814:- Creek Indian War.



1817:- Alabama Territory created.
1818:- The first meet of the legislature of Alabama Territory
1831:- The formal opening of the University of Alabama
1836-1837:- Second Creek War



1846:- Montgomery became the capital of Alabama
1874:- Democrats get back into power, effectively ending Reconstruction.
1895:- State flag adopted
1865–1877:- Reconstruction Act

1871–1929:-Mines, Mills & Mules. Alabama became an industrialized state.
1901:-
Constitution of Alabama was ratified
1909:- Wright Brothers, Orville and Wilbur establish flying school in Montgomery.
1969:-University of Huntsville and University of Alabama established.



1974:- George C. Wallace became the first Alabama Governor to be elected to a third term.
2001:- Condoleezza Rice, Birmingham native, appointed National Security Advisor to President Bush
 2010:- Republican, Dr. Robert Bentley was elected the governor of Alabama.


Statehood of Alabama

Alabama became the 22nd state of the union in 1819 and the Constitution emphasizes on the equal suffrage for white men. The state established state banks to secure capital. The legislature of 1893 cancelled all state taxation. The Democratic party was the only party that ruled the state until 1832. Later that year, the party was divided into Jackson Democratic Party and state right’s (Calhoun) Democratic Party.
The Alabama soldiers fought numerous wars and certain Military records are collected and maintained in the Alabama department of Archives and history which file the participation of Alabamian in the American Revolutionary War, War of 1812 & 1st Creek War, 2nd Creek War(1835-36), Texas War of Independence (1835-36), Mexican War, civil War, Spanish- American War, World War I, World War II, Korean War (1950-53), Vietnam War.

The Presidential Plan of Re-organization,  authorized a provisional governor of Alabama in 1865. Under the Reconstruction plan, the state declared withdrawal of ordinance and abolition of slavery. Alabama was put under Military Government as the Reconstruction Plan ended in 1867. The voting rights were given only to the whites who had never supported the Confederacy. Following the war, the Republican Party ruled for 2 years.

Historical Facts and Landmarks of Alabama

  • Joel Addins House in Huntsville is the oldest known building of the state.
  • Old Rock Jail in Rockford is the State’s oldest jail.
  • Barton Academy in mobile is the first public school in the state of Alabama.
  • USS Alabama in Mobile is one of the surviving battleships in Alabama.
  • Barton Hall in Huntsville is Greek revival plantation house famous for its sophisticated designs.
  • Episcopal Church of the nativity in Huntsville is a Gothic Revival church beautifully showcasing the Ecclesiastical Gothic Architecture.
  • Moundville site in Moundville represents a major period of the Mississippian Culture.
  • Montgomery Snagboat in Pickensville is one of the two surviving United States Army Corps or Surviving Snagboats.
  • Most of the important historical facts are recorded in the library of Samford University.
  • Montgomery was selected the capital of Alabama by the legislature on January 28, 1846.

For more Historical Facts about Alabama Click here.

Alabama Historical Commission comprising of historians, archaeologists, architects and other representatives is formed to conserve and preserve the historical buildings and sites of Alabama.


Geography of Alabama

Alabama is the Southeastern state of the United States of America covering a total land area of 52,423 [3] square miles and also the second largest inland water way system in the U.S. The state is surrounded by the four states of Tennessee to the north, Georgia to the east, Florida to the south, and Mississippi to the west. Alabama has coastline at the Gulf of Mexico, in the extreme southern edge of the state.

The elevation ranges from sea level at Mobile Bay and gentle plain land area to some mountainous region over 1,800 feet (550 m) in the Appalachian Mountains in the northeast. The Tennessee River runs entirely across the valley and formed numerous creeks, streams, rivers and lakes due to the dissection of the river.


Topography of Alabama

The Cumberland Plateau or the Tennessee Valley stretches across the state from the northern to the south. Highlands from 700 to 800 feet are formed on the northern part of the plateau and lowlands are formed south of these highlands. Occupying an area of 8000 square miles is the Appalachian Valley / Coosa Valley which nestles in the southern extremity of the Appalachian Mountains. The Piedmont Plateau is a small triangular shaped section that lies in the Southeast of the Appalachian Valley.

Geographical Facts:

Latitude: 30o 11′ N to 35o N
Longitude: 84o 53′ W to 88o 28′ W
Largest state: Birmingham
Largest County: Baldwin
Highest point: Mount Cheaha at a height of 2,413 ft (735 m)
Mean point: 500ft (150m)
Lowest point: Gulf of Mexico
Area Under Forest: 67% of total land area
Total Area: 52,419 sq m(135,765 km2)
Width: 190 miles (305 km)
Length: 330 miles (531 km)
Bridge: Natural bridge rock, the longest natural bridge, spanning over 127 ft(40m)
The Alabama Forestry Commission oversees the state forests of Alabama. There are four National forest ( Conecuh, Talladega, Tuskegee, and William B. Bankhead) and six state forest (Chocolate State Forest, Edward A HAuss State Forest Nursery, Geneva State Forest, Little River State Forest, Macon State Forest and Weogufka State Forest) in Alabama. 67% of the total land area is occupied by the forest [4].

The north and the north eastern region of Alabama are mountainous and embody many mountain ranges. some of the notable mountain ranges include the the Appalachian Mountain, the Cheaha Mountain, Bald Rock and Red Mountain, Blue Ridge Mountain, Big Caney Head, Hurricane Mountain, and Big Oak Mountain.

The Coastal Plains of Alabama consists of the Tombigbee River in the west, the Alabama River in the western central and the Chattahoochee River in the east. The valleys in the Coastal region are broad as compared to that of North and North-eastern region which are deep and narrow. The Rivers of Alabama is one of the most bio diversified waterways in the world covering numerous rivers and streams. The Gulf of Mexico is the Delta into which all the rivers of Alabama merge into. There are many creeks, streams and lakes created from these major rivers – Apalachicola River, Alabama River, Tallapoosa River, Coosa River, Tombigbee River, Black Warrior River, Sipsey River, Fowl River, Pascagoula River, Mississippi River, Magnolia River, Fish River, Blakeley River.

Climate in Alabama

Climatic Facts:

Average Annual Temperature: 64oF (18oC)
Average Annual Rainfall: 56 inches (1,400 mm) of rainfall annually
Time zone: Central UTC:-6/-5
Eastern UTC:-5/-4
Timber Belt: Soil is sandy and poor
Black/Cotton Belt: Black soil rich in limestone and marl formations
Cereal Belt: Fertile red clays and dark loam soils
Mineral Region: Soil rich in minerals
The weather of the state of Alabama ranges from very hot summer to mild winters and is termed as humid sub-tropical. The state receives abundant rainfall throughout the year and is greatest along the coast and evenly distributed throughout the rest of the state. The average annual temperature of the state is 64oF (18oC). In the summer season, temperature soars to 32oC in the southern part of the state, while the northern parts are comparative cooler. Thunder storms and Hurricanes effect the state to a large extend. The south Alabama around the Mobile Bay is more susceptible to thunders and tornadoes as compared to the northern parts.

For Alabama Weather Updates Click here.

Demographics of Alabama


Estimated Population of Various Races in 2010 [5]:

White: 68.5%
Black: 26.2%
Asian: 1.1%
Native
American Indian & Alaska:
0.6%
Native
Hawaiian & Pacific Islander:
0.1%
Other Race: 2%
Two or More Races: 46.6%
According to the 2013 census, the estimated population of Alabama is 4,833,722 and reflects a hike of 1.1% from the 2010 census (4,779,745) [5]. The rate of immigration from outside the U.S has also increased considerably. The migration reflects a net increase of 73,811 people in the state according to the United States Census Bureau.

The African American is the dominant ancestral group composing 26.2% of the total population followed by 23.6% of English, 7.7% of Irish, 5.7% of German and 2% of Scot-Irish. The largest ethnic
group in Alabama is of English ancestry (composing of 41% according to 1980 census). As far as the religion of the people is concerned, 80% of the people of Alabama are Christian, 6% are Catholic, 11% are no religion people and other composition of 0.5% each of Mormon, Jewish, Muslim, Buddhist and Hindu [5].

Quick Facts: [5]

  • Population, 2013 estimate: 4,833,722
  • Population, 2010 (April 1) estimates base: 4,779,758
  • Population, percent change, April 1, 2010 to July 1, 2013: 1.1%
  • Persons under 5 years, percent, 2013: 6.1%
  • Persons under 18 years, percent, 2013: 23.0%
  • Persons 65 years and over, percent, 2013: 14.9%
  • Female persons, percent, 2013: 51.5%

The nine indigenous American Indian Tribes that are approved and recognised by the state government of Alabama are Poarch band of Creek Indians, MOWA Band of Choctaw, Star Clan of Muscogee Creeks, Echota Cherokee Tribe of Alabama, Cherokee Tribe of Northeast Alabama, Cher-O-Creek Intra Tribal Indians, Ma-Chis Lower Creek Indian Tribe, Piqua Shawnee Tribe, and Ani-Yun-Wiya Nation.

Economy of Alabama

The major economy of the state of Alabama was agriculture but at present various sectors including industries, education, health care, aerospace and banking have contributed to the economic growth of the state.

According to Birmingham Business Journal, the five leading employers in Alabama in 2011:

Red stone Arsenal:25,373
University of Alabama at Birmingham (includes UAB Hospital): 18,750
Maxwell Air Force Base: 12,280
State of Alabama: 9,500
Mobile County Public School System: 8,100

Agriculture in Alabama

The agricultural production of Alabama was $1.5 billion by 2006. Alabama has an official Agricultural Museum in Dothan which marked agriculture as a very important part of the state’s economy. Alabama’s agricultural products include crops and live stocks. About 82% is contributed by live stocks and 18% by crops. The principal crop and livestock products are cotton, peanuts, sweet potatoes, green house and nursery, broilers, chicken eggs ,cattle, and calves [7].

Live stocks of Alabama

In 2006, Alabama is ranked the third highest producer of broilers (young chicken) in the United States. The northern part of the state contributes largely to its production. Almost 60% of the livestock production of the state is yielded by broilers and 11% by cattle and calves (predominantly produced in the central part of the state). The other products include pigs, chicken eggs, dairy products and fish farms [8].

Crops of Alabama

The chief crop of the state is cotton which was termed as “King Cotton”, the agricultural royalty at one time. The other products include green house and nursery, sweet potatoes, potatoes, peanuts , vegetables and fruits(peaches, apples, plums, grapes etc.).

Industries in Alabama

Industries of various sectors have contributed immensely to the economic growth of the state (especially the automotive production industry). The main industries include chemicals, electronics, automotive, pulp & paper, mining, textiles, apparels, primary metals, lumber & wood products, food processing, fabricated metals, and oil & gas. The primary industrial outputs of Alabama are aerospace and electronic products, cast iron, automotive products, fabricated steel products, furniture, paper and plastic products.

The Huntsville city of the state is popular for the production of aerospace and electronic products. The state also boasts of the Airbus A320 family assembly Plant located in Mobile. The plant works effectively for the assembly of Airbus A319, A320 and A321 aircraft.

Overview of The Huntsville Aerospace and Defense Industry

The Automobile Industry provides huge employment to the state and has generated many new jobs. The notable suppliers in the state are Honda Manufacturing of Alabama, Hyundai Motor Manufacturing, Alabama Mercedes-Benz U.S. International and Toyota Motor Manufacturing Alabama.

Chemicals including industrial chemical, chemical fibres for textiles, fertilizers and insecticides are also an important industrial product of the state. Paper and pulp products are also the important value added products of the state.

The Iron and Steel industry employs over 10,000 people in the state. The Calvert in Mobile County is selected as one of the chief processing facility for stainless steel and carbon steel.

The Telecommunications Company AT & T employs over 60000 people as permanent employees and over 12,000 as contract employees.

For more information on Alabama Agriculture and Industries Click here

Natural Resources of Alabama

The Resources of the state include coal, natural gas, petroleum (oil), limestone, marble, ignite, sand, gravel and clay resources. These precious products mined in Alabama contribute a major part in the economic growth of the state including the soil that supports the essential agricultural department of the state.

  • Limestone is mined around Birmingham and Huntsville.
  • Natural gas and petroleum are mined in the south western part.
  • Coal is mined in the north-central part.
  • Methane gas produced in the west-central part.

Exported Products of Alabama

Alabama is the largest supplier of cast iron and steel pipe products. Other products like automotive, computer, organic chemicals, plastics, aircraft, aerospace parts, apparel, paper products and chemical products are the major exported products of the state. Hematite or iron oxide is the official state mineral of Alabama. Birmingham is the industrial hub of the state of Alabama.

Leading Employers of Alabama

The five major employers of the state are Redstone Arsenal with over 25,373 employees, University of Alabama at Birmingham with over 18,750 employees, Maxwell Air Force Base with over 12, 280 employees, State of Alabama with over 9,500 employees and the Mobile County Public School System with over 8,100 employees [6].

Interesting Facts about Alabama

  • The man with velvet voice, Nathaniel Adams (Nat King) Cole was born in Montgomery in 1919 and died in 1965 [9]
  • The official state motto is Audemus Jura, translated as “We dare defend our rights”
  • The official state song is Alabama
  • Montgomery became the state capital on January 30, 1846 [10]
  • Alabama’s official nut is pecan
  • Alabama’s official gemstone is star blue quartz
  • Alabama’s official insect is Monarch butterfly
  • Alabama’s official mineral is Hematite/oxide of iron

Government of Alabama [11]

The Government of Alabama is structured by the Constitution of Alabama which was sanctioned on 1901. It is the sixth constitution and is recognized as the lengthiest effective constitution in the world. The body of the Constitution can be categorised into three distinct sections, namely, Executive power (Governor of Alabama), Legislative power (Alabama State Legislative) and Judicial power (Judiciary of Alabama).

The Executive branch renders the executive power to the Governor of Alabama, the Lieutenant Governor of Alabama, the Governor’s cabinet and the executive officials The Governor of Alabama is elected by Alabama gubernatorial election held every four years. The Republican, Robert Julian Bentley is the 53rd and the current governor of Alabama who was elected in 2010 and sworn in on January 17, 2011. Kay Ivey, a Republican politician is the 30th and the current lieutenant governor of Alabama, since January 2011.

The Alabama Legislature is the law making and supervising body of the state government of Alabama. The legislature is divided into two separate assemblies, namely Alabama House of Representatives and Alabama Senate. Republican, Mike Hubbard is are the current Speaker of the house.

The Judiciary is the system that employs and applies law and regulates any disputes ensuring justice in the state. It encompasses the essential panel of the Supreme Court/Constitutional Court and the lower courts of the Judiciary. Mr. Roy Moore is the current chief justice of the Supreme Court of Alabama, since January 11, 2013. The Alabama State Constitution authorizes all elections including legislature, cabinet, state-level officers and county-level officers of the state.

General Tax Information of Alabama

For more information on the Government of Alabama Click here

Education System in Alabama

The Alabama State Department of Education supervises and administers the entire education system of Alabama. The Education system comprises of public and private schools, colleges, Universities. There are 67 county school board and city boards in the state [12]. A strategic program called “Plan 2020” was initiated in Alabama to ensure growth in the success rate of the students in schools, colleges and/or careers on completion of their graduations. All public primary and secondary schools are funded through the Education Trust Fund.



There are numerous higher education programs in Alabama. The students can choose from various programs listed below.

  • Four year Public Universities
  • Two year community Colleges.
  • Private Graduate and Undergraduate Universities.
  • Medical schools ( University of Alabama School of Medicine, University of South Alabama, Colleges of Osteopathic Medicine)
  • Veterinary colleges (Auburn University and Tuskegee University)
  • Dental school (University of Alabama School of Dentistry)
  • Optometry College (University of Alabama at Birmingham)
  • Law schools (University of Alabama School of Law, Birmingham School of Law, Cumberland School of Law, Miles Law School, Thomas Goode Jones School of Law)

Explore The University of Alabama.
Explore Auburn University


University of Alabama, Auburn University and University of Alabama at Birmingham
are ranked in the top 100 Public Schools in the United States of America according to the 2011 U.S. News and World Report. The University of Alabama and Auburn University have the finest college football teams of the state. The professional sports of the state include football, indoor football, baseball, basketball, ice hockey and soccer.


Transportation in Alabama

The transportation system of Alabama is a liaison of multiple networks of roadways, airways, railways and waterways. These are the lifelines for extensive passenger travel and cargo/freight transportation and provide vast intercity and interstate connectivity. The majority of the roads, rail systems and water ways are owned and maintained by the state government but some are private or federal entity. The Alabama department of transportation is actively working to uplift the transportation system and ease the traffic and congestion in the state. It maintains and manages all numbered highways.

There are five primary interstate highways in Alabama, namely, I-10, I-20, I-22, I-59, I-65, I-85

Some major airports which serve an integral part of the commercial operations include Birmingham-Shuttles worth International Airport, Huntsville International Airport, Dothan Regional Airport, Montgomery Regional Airport, Mobile Regional Airport, and Muscle Shoals-Northwest Alabama Regional Airport.

The railroads in Alabama is categorized into Class 1 railroads, Class 2 railroads, Class 3 railroads, Terminal railroads, Industrial railroads, Museum Railroads and Passenger railroads.

The waterways of Alabama are Port of Mobile, Port of Montgomery, Port of Florence, Port of Birmingham, Port of Decatur, Port of Guntersville, and Port of Tuscaloosa.

For more information on the Transportation System of Alabama Click here




References:


  1. Alabama Statehood
  2. Alabama Geographical Facts
  3. Alabama Forests
  4. Alabama Population Facts
  5. Alabama Agriculture
  6. Alabama Livestock
  7. Nat King Cole
  8. Montgomery
  9. Government of Alabama
  10. Alabama Schools

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